Tube workers set to vote on further strike action

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of London Underground workers are to be balloted for strikes in a row over allegations of victimisation against two union members, threatening fresh disruption on the Tube.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union said several hundred workers will vote in the next few weeks on whether to take industrial action in support of the two men.

The union claimed that Eamon Lynch, a health and safety representative on the Bakerloo Line, was sacked because of his role as a union official, while Arwyn Thomas, a driver on the Northern Line, was facing "trumped up" charges as a result of recent strikes over job losses.

Members of the RMT and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association have staged a series of strikes in recent weeks and are planning another 24-hour walkout from next Sunday evening (November 28).

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Instead of harassing our members and activists on trumped-up charges, the London Underground management should be directing their energies into reaching a settlement to the ongoing disputes over Tube safety and safe staffing levels."

Talks aimed at averting the next strike will resume today at the conciliation service Acas.

Voting in the two ballots will end on December 7, raising the threat of industrial action in the run-up to Christmas.

The unions have signalled they would suspend action over the festive period in the row over job losses if progress was made during long-running talks, but there has been no sign of a breakthrough.

A Transport for London spokesman said: "It is completely irresponsible for the RMT to call a ballot for strike action when the disciplinary and appeal process for both drivers has not been exhausted and, in the case of the Northern Line driver, has not even started.

"For the RMT leadership to threaten to disrupt Londoners in this way shows a complete disregard for Tube passengers.

"The Bakerloo Line driver was dismissed after a serious breach of Tube safety rules and the appeal process has not yet concluded while the Northern Line driver was suspended for unacceptable conduct towards London Underground colleagues with a disciplinary hearing yet to be held.

"The RMT leadership should call off this pointless and unnecessary ballot immediately."

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